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Monday, July 19, 2010

Matt Banahan's tip tackle on Berrick Barnes

Matt Banahan's tip tackle on Berrick Barnes

A month ago England wing Matt Banahan was suspended for a tip tackle he made when playing against the Australian Barbarians down under. In the wake of the Jean De Villiers suspension this past weekend, take a look at this and compare the two.

It took a while to track down a clip from the un-televised game and by the time I'd sorted it out, the dust had settled slightly. There was a request for it earlier today though so what better time to post the clip than when there's been a fairly heated debate about the De Villiers spear on Rene Ranger that many felt was a little soft.

In the case of Banahan, he was the third England player to be cited on that tour, with lock Dave Atwood having two charges of stamping being dropped on technicalities. Mark Cueto was then also cited for a hit against Australia - that you can see at the start of this clip - but that was also thrown out.

Banahan was third in line, and perhaps in some ways paid the price for the other two getting off scot free. His tackle on Berrick Barnes led to him being suspended for two weeks by New Zealand Judicial Officer Peter Hobbs.

By all means, it was a big hit and Barnes' legs were lifted above the horizontal. At no point in time was his head driven or dropped towards the ground though, so on initial viewing the ruling seemed very harsh. It certainly wasn't a spear, but perhaps was a 'tip tackle', as they like to call it these days.

If we're after consistency, and this type of tackle is indeed illegal, then when you compare the two incidents, the two weeks that De Villiers got suddenly doesn't look so bad.

This clip has also been posted because regardless of comparisons, some of you wanted to see it a while back and possibly never did.

I'd like to hear your take on it. Was this ruling on Banahan extremely harsh, or is the IRB on the right track when trying to stop tacklers from lifting players' legs in the tackle?

Time: 0:26

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